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FODMAP friendly vegetarian curry (gluten free, vegan option)

My personal affinity for curry began when I was studying at University. There was an Indian restaurant near our house that did the most amazing food, and their takeaway punctuated many ~important moments~ (mostly me getting dumped) in my young adult life. Shahi paneer was the order of the day for both my sister and I. I loved it so much that I developed a version for my cookbook.

I have shared a recipe for FODMAP friendly shahi paneer, But today, I wanted to share a recipe for a curry that you could make your own. So, allow me to introduce my FODMAP friendly vegetarian curry.

FODMAP friendly vegetarian curry

I know that curry is a vague term and I’m sorry. When I started developing the recipe for this curry, I intended for it to be a tofu tikka masala. After making it a couple of times, however, I decided that it needed cardamom. Bon Appetit uses cardamom in their tikka masala, other websites do not. I myself don’t know what strictly constitutes a tikka masala (given that it is British Indian origin) and I don’t want to bastardise a cuisine. So! FODMAP friendly vegetarian curry that is 99% tikka masala and 1% rogue.

This FODMAP friendly vegetarian curry is gluten free, nut free and adaptable to be vegan. It comprises of a sauce base – a whole host of vegetables, cooked together with spices. The curry base is just about the easiest way I can think of to jam a whole bunch of vegetables into a dish. It tastes decadent, authentic, and not at all like that 7 a day.

The curry is made without any onion or garlic. It uses a combination of spices and aromats to achieve a beautiful gravy without these ingredients.

FODMAP friendly vegetarian curry notes

  • This recipe uses a curry base that is jam packed with vegetables. I’ve written the recipe up within this post, but I will also include it here. The reason being? You can use this curry base anywhere a curry base is called for. You can make it in bulk and then whip it out when you want a quick curry, too.
  • To make this FODMAP friendly vegetarian curry vegan, simply use a plain flavoured oil in place of ghee, and either coconut milk or another plant based milk in place of the cream. If you want it to taste as authentic as possible, I recommend using soy milk or a plain flavoured milk as opposed to coconut. Coconut is delicious, but it will add a unique taste.
  • You can replace the tofu with whatever protein you see fit. However, I’m no expert on cooking other proteins, so you’ll have to figure out the timing for yourself.
  • You could also omit a protein entirely and load up on vegetables. The choice is yours!
  • I developed this recipe in rona times, and I found it quite difficult to acquire fenugreek. If you’re in the same boat, just omit it. The truly necessary spices are garam masala, cumin and turmeric. If worst comes to worst, coriander powder and paprika can be omitted. Paprika is mostly for the classic red colour, anyway.
  • The amchoor (mango powder) is an optional bonus, if you have it. I have read that citric acid is a more common replacement, but honestly you can just add some extra lemon juice.
  • Kashmiri chilli powder is a mild chilli powder – similar in heat to Aleppo pepper but less smokey. I like it because A) it gives off a lovely red colour and B) it’s the perfect level of heat for a spice wimp like me.

Is rice gluten free?

This might be obvious to those seasoned in dodging gluten, but it is a common question. Yes, rice is naturally gluten free. This includes any variety of rice (brown, black, Jasmine, Arborio) and rice flour. These are all safe to eat on a gluten free diet, and go really well with this curry.

Other recipes on my site that champion rice and rice flour include:

More FODMAP friendly vegetarian Indian recipes

An aerial view of a skillet filled with FODMAP friendly curry that has been topped with a swirl of cream. The skillet sits atop a white marble table which is surrounded by plates of curry, water glasses and a white linen tablecloth.

FODMAP friendly vegetarian curry

Gluten free, low FODMAP, vegan option
Serves 6-8 people
4.75 from 8
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Food Intolerance Friendly
Servings 6 people



  • 3 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 fennel bulb finely chopped
  • 1 large (or 2 small) carrots reasonably finely chopped
  • 40-50 g ginger chopped
  • 1 small red capsicum chopped
  • 1 small green capsicum chopped
  • 250 g cabbage chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Asfoetida (hing) powder, optional (see notes)
  • Water to cover (anywhere from 3 cups to 1 litre works, it will just determine the thickness of the sauce)


  • 8 cardamom pods or 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli (see notes)
  • 1-2 teaspoons amchoor optional (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  • 1 x 500 g packet of tofu drained
  • Whatever vegetables you fancy
  • 125-250 g lactose free full cream (you could also use yoghurt milk or a plant based substitute, see notes
  • Seasoning to taste



  • Place the ghee in a very large cast iron skillet, pan or wok over a low-medium heat. Add the fennel and carrot, and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring intermittently, until soft and caramelised in colour. I like to add some salt here to encourage the vegetables to release their own liquids – this will mean adding less water. Add the ginger, capsicums and cabbage and cook until soft – an additional 10 or so minutes. Do add water whenever the vegetables are sticking and you sense they need it.
  • Add the tomatoes and spices and stir to combine. Top with the water, stir and place a lid on. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.
  • Once the vegetables are completely soft and the mixture is fragrant, set aside to cool. Once sufficiently cool, place the mixture in a high speed food processor and blend until you have a smooth curry gravy.


  • Combine all the spices (except for the cardamom seeds) for the curry paste in a bowl or a small blender. If you’re using cardamom powder, you can add it in with the other spices. We’re cooking the cardamom seeds first because they can get lost in the curry paste otherwise. By cooking them in the ghee first, they have more of a chance to become fragrant and flavour the curry.
  • In a food processor or a mortar and pestle, add the spices and all remaining ingredients for the curry paste. If you’re using a blender and are having trouble getting it to blend, add a cup or so of the curry base mixture. Blend until smooth.


  • Wash and reheat the large skillet or wok and return it to the heat. If you like, you can dry fry your tofu over a high heat to develop some texture in the form of crispy edges. If you’re going down this path, fry the tofu in batches and then place on a plate.
  • Add the ghee to the skillet and place over a medium heat. If you're using cardamom seeds, add them to the skillet and cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Add the curry paste and fry off for a minute or two until fragrant. Add some curry base to keep it from sticking, if necessary.
  • Once the mixture is fragrant, add all the curry base and stir thoroughly to combine. Add the vegetables you fancy in order of how long they will take to cook. Add the tofu last and gently stir to combine.
  • Finally, add the cream or milk as you see fit. You might not want to add any, you might add more than the recipe suggests. It’s up to you.
  • Allow the curry to cook for 5 or so minutes before adjusting for seasoning, spice level and lemon juice. Continue cooking until all the vegetables are cooked through. You can serve with a swirl of cream on top if you’re feeling fancy.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Hi! Just wondering how much carrot to use? I couldn’t see it in the ingredient list. Thanks xx

    1. Sorry! Classic me. 1 large or 2 small carrots. I will amend now, thanks for letting me know 🙂

  2. When and how do you cook the cardamom seeds? Do you cook them in the ghee and then take them out or leave them in the ghee with all the other spices?

    1. Hi Sofia, if you’re using cardamom seeds, add them to the ghee and cook for a minute or so before adding the curry paste 🙂 Leave them in – they’re edible and delicious. Just remember to take them out of the pods, of course

  3. 5 stars
    Should I pan fry the tofu before adding it to the curry? Or will it be better just drained and cubed?

    1. Hi Tosha, I generally just throw it in raw. You can pan fry it if you like but it will lose the crispiness as it cooks in the sauce so it doesn’t really make much difference taste wise 🙂

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